I have mild depression

I’m back in counselling! This time, a face-to-face one. Remember the mental health check I talked about some time ago? Well, they sent a referral and I got a phone call a couple of days ago asking about when I would like to come in.

Since I’m a NEET right now, I asked (and got) an appointment the next day. Luckily for me, the counselor is at the Rotary Family Service Center, which is a non-profit social work organisation. They’re funded by the government (although not working for them), so my counseling was free.

After talking and listening, the counselor told me that I probably have mild depression.

What is mild depression?

So basically, because I do not have all the symptoms of depression and because they aren’t that severe, my depression is considered mild (which is a good thing).

That isn’t to say that you can ignore mild depression. It can mess you up, as quite a few Dayreans will remember (I don’t even dare look for that post).

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness; or feeling down or gloomy
  • A loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Weight loss or weight gain; or decrease or increase in appetite
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; or sleeping excessively
  • Feeling agitated or restless
  • Feeling tired and lacking the energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or having trouble thinking
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

(Source: Institute of Mental Health)

My symptoms were mainly:

1. Isolating myself
2. Loss of motivation
3. Loss of appetite
4. Worsening sleep
5. Feeling down for an extended period of time

You know what was the worst part for me?

Losing the will to write.

I kept telling myself it was writer’s block, but to be honest it was much worse. I had the idea, but I couldn’t bring myself to write (except on very rare occasions). The words were forever just out of my reach, like Tantalus and his fruit and water.

And it felt like I didn’t even care.

I wanted to write but didn’t, if such a contradiction even makes sense. For someone who used to write consistently (and could do at least 500 words a day), struggling to even reach 100 words and failing to do so made me feel like I was a sham.

Luckily, the counselor says that mild depression is highly treatable.

My Treatment

My treatment is actually quite simple:

- Exercise at least 2 to 3 times a week
- Eat properly
 - Drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day
- Sleep properly (to be honest this is the hardest but I’m trying to tell my brain that “I can think of this tomorrow” because I realise I’ve been using sleep time as thinking time)
- Push myself to go out. But, I must be more selective and choose to meet only positive people

About the last point: the counselor was saying that right now, my focus is on getting better and hence surrounding myself with positivity. Listening to complaints and being a listening ear, while a good thing, will only impede my recovery. So for the time being, the advice is to avoid negative topics. The principle here is “help yourself before helping others” like what they say about air masks on those safety videos.

Why am I talking about this?

I actually hesitated before writing this because I feel like I’ve written about it quite a few times and I was like “won’t everyone be sick of this topic” and “it’s only mild depression, is it even important enough to talk about?” (Second thought occurring even though I have experienced the effects myself)

But then, I realised that this is all part of my mental health journey and since I already started writing, I should continue (inertia can be wonderful sometimes). And I have seen people self-diagnose and wanted to share my story to show people that there are free and convenient resources. You don’t have to self-diagnose (which is actually dangerous) and you can and should get help.

Also, a friend reminded me that this is my space to share so I should just write whatever I want. And I want to write about this because I feel that we don’t talk about mental health enough and that people have a lot of misconceptions about it.

This is my story. I hope it helps.

Resources
CHAT - If you're unsure of whether you need a mental health assessment, you can talk to someone over an online chat and they'll be able to advise you.

Rotary Family Service Centre, Clementi - Their services are available for free to anyone living in the West Coast or Clementi. You can register by email to enquiry[at]rotaryfsc[dot]org or call 67799488 or walk-in. Information is confidential.

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